8 Fashionable Cult Films to Watch ASAP.
Updated: May 20
Now I can't lie, if I'm watching a film and the on screen ensembles are amazing, I will tend to like it just a little bit more. That's even if other important qualities like score and plot and, you know, character development don't quite hold up. A great look can save a lot of things. (Yes 'Jawbreaker,' I'm looking at you.)
I've noticed that a lot of cult films - the types that have some of the most dedicated fan bases you will ever see - are stylish as heck. They will involve a ton of outfits you wouldn't mind trying out for yourself. Then I had the idea, why not take a look at 8 of the most fashionable? These films are so stylish that you'll be taking mental notes as you watch.
1. Marie Antoinette.
I adore the pastel colour palette of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette!
Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette puts style over historical accuracy, but we don't mind. Milena Canonero’s award winning costume designs are a visual delight. They blend beautifully against the decadent backdrop of 18th century Versailles. A soft-hued flick that'll have you craving the sweet taste of a macaroon.
Marie Antoinette was only 15 when she came to France from Austria. Used to bring the two warring nations together through a marriage to the equally inexperienced Louis XVI.
For film version Antoinette, Versailles is a dreamy paradise where she can live out her aesthetic fantasies. She plays around with luxurious fashion because she can, and is permitted to by the royal court.
Kirsten Dunst - starring in the leading role of the young Princess - gallivants around the palace in an ethereal display of baby pinks and dreamy blues. Ruffled or floral bodices, dramatic hoop skirts, and an array of intricate hats and frivolous fans dazzle on screen.
In one scene, Antoinette and her fellow royal friends gorge on candy, gamble, and try on shoe after shoe after shoe. The footwear featured were all Manolo Blahník designs made especially for the film. This collection of bow heeled beauties gave me a huge dose of shoe envy. I suspect they will be floating around in my dreams for the next few weeks.
2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The spectacular singing and dance inducing visuals of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will get anyone in the mood to party.
Yes, this cult classic is considered more of a Halloween-y treat, but the film’s amazing fashion sense is great inspiration for the winter party season. The cast’s ensembles are unforgettable. An inspiration to express your best and most authentic self on the dance floor.
When vanilla couple Janet and Brad get lost on the Transylvanian highway, they stumble across a creepy mansion. Despite the dreary exterior of the building, magic awaits inside. A group of outcasts and deviants indulge in campy goodness. Intimate wear is acceptable as outerwear. Dramatic drag makeup, a huge supply of sequins, and gaudy accessories run rampant. It is a land of experimentation.
Tim Curry as Dr Frank N Furter, the ‘sweet transvestite, from Transexual, Transylvania,’ is an undeniable style icon. I mean, his suspender game is on point, he looks great in a corset, and stands tall in stilettos with boundless self-confidence. A not-so-subtle reminder to always bring your most extra self to a celebration.
However, It’s Columbia’s sequin studded wardrobe I love the most. In those glittery dancing shoes, her entire ensemble is to die for. I am a firm believer that you can’t have too many sequins, and though the embellishment may be a party season cliche, it can never, EVER be boring. Get time warping!
3. Pretty in Pink.
To all those D.I.Y or thrift fashion queens out there. If you haven't already seen Howard Deutch's coming of age film Pretty in Pink, then I suggest you stream it immediately.
Molly Ringwald, the it-girl actress of the 1980s, plays Andie Walsh. Despite coming from a working class family, Andie attends a private school via scholarship. She juggles with the pressures of class hierarchy, tries to uphold her sense of individuality and, of course, is stuck in a classic romcom love triangle - having to choose between childhood friend Duckie (Jon Cryer), and preppy, rich kid Blane (Andrew McCarthy.)
Costume designer Marilyn Vance represented class differences between the characters through fashion. What Andie Walsh lacks in money, she makes up for through an eclectic sense of style, curated from amazing thrift finds and a keen eye for D.I.Y detailing.
She owns the quirkiest of hats, wears adorable details like lace collars, shabby chic broaches, and pearl necklaces. Let's not forget to mention her love of a good floral. From pastel leggings to flowery blouses, her entire wardrobe is made to create volcanic ensembles.
Whilst the rich kids are shown in preppy staples like white chinos and pastel blue shirts, Duckie stands out in a brilliant teddy boy aesthetic. Who could forget his white dancing shoes when lip syncing to Otis Redding at the record store, or his penchant for a patterned suit? I will defo be taking this into account the next time I search for the perfect blazer.
4. Blade Runner.
It is November 2019, and you know what that means. We are living in the age of Blade Runner.
Although Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Blade Runner might not have predicted the future with complete accuracy, you cannot deny how the spell bounding Mise-en-scène - characterised by moody costume design, and an immersive setting - contributed to a alluring take on cinematic dystopia. On top of that, Vangelis's alluring ambient soundtrack is the perfect finishing touch.
You have costume designer Michael Kaplan to thank for the outfits. Ones that fit a gritty and oppressive depiction of urban life. You just can't beat the effortless look of utilitarian outerwear for dark autumn walks in the big city. Both the main protagonist; bounty hunter Rich Deckard (Harrison Ford), and antagonist; mesmerising blond replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), pull off a trench coat on screen.
The women of Blade Runner showcase two different sides of 1980s fashion. Sean Young's Rachael encapsulates an executive look. A mysterious and distant beauty, she is well suited to the sleek shoulder pads, pencil skirts, and monochrome colour palette that screams business.
Daryl Hannah's portrayal of replicant Pris is the perfect balance between the alternative styles of punk and new wave. Her rebellious nature is embodied by black sheer shirts, ripped tights, studded chokers, bold makeup, and electric blonde hair. I'm sure there were quite a few Pris's hanging around on the streets this Halloween.
As if this film wouldn't be on the list.
Cher Horowitz's Clueless wardrobe is the envy of many a fashionable film buff. To begin with, the character had a computer in her wardrobe that matched up cute outfits for her. You could never complain about having nothing to wear again! (Though she does have that issue in a later scene, oops.)
For this popular teen flick, costume director Mona May created a number of looks that have endured. Cher, played by the irresistible Alicia Silverstone in her 90s prime, epitomises an 'all-American' preppy girl chic. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen her style homaged on Instagram. Pleated mini skirts, popping plaid prints, and adorable knee highs are all trendy pieces that'll easily achieve a super girly look.
Even the friendships in this film scream fashion. In one of many famous scenes, Cher and best friend Dionne Davenport - played by the glamorous Stacey Dash - get to school in the most stylish way possible. They are the ultimate twinsies. Cher in her yellow plaid two piece and Dionne in her matching red and black variation - with that jaw dropping hat. This scene made me want my own matching set.
Other fashion highlights have got to be when Cher name drops Calvin Klein in the cutest white slip dress from the brand, or even looking totally amazing when she is held at gun point in her red hot Alaïa. She slayed every look, including the ones with extra fluffy pens.
If Clueless was the quintessential stylish teen film for the 1990s, then Heathers was it for the 1980s. Set in a vicious high school environment, this clever dark comedy is as fashionable as it is deadly.
A young Winona Ryder stars as Veronica, a member of The Heathers: Westerburg High's popular girl group who rule through petty social games and a mean sense of humour. After meeting school outcast 'in a long black trenchcoat' JD (Christian Slater), Veronica is smitten, and together they turn the school hierarchy upside down - but with fatal consequences.
The Heathers are definitely power dressers. Although a business-like look might seem of place in a school environment, costume designer Rudy Dillon made it this way to showcase the best of late 1980s fashion, and to highlight the competitive tribalism of high school life.
The girls wear shoulder pads and ankle socks, with queen bee Heather Chandler's (Kim Walker) bright red scrunchie representing her status at the top of the pack.
To separate herself from the other members, Veronica's style is a lot darker. Being the black sheep, she rocks quirkier pieces like bowler hats and, at one point, even pulls of a monocle. The black suspender dress paired with a grey bardot jumper has to be my favourite look of hers. It would look totally
contemporary if worn today.
In this beautifully stylish flick, director Michelangelo Antonioni captures the vibrant music, fashion, and art scene of swinging sixties London.
In Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, David Hemmings plays fashion photographer Thomas. His job involves capturing photos of beautiful women wearing high end brands like Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges. These models sparkle under the flash of the camera, becoming intriguing snapshots of their time.
The early scenes with IRL supermodel Veruschka are simply stunning. Long, thin, and blessed with the charisma of a regal human being, the skilled model shifts her body through a series of elegant poses. Almost as if she is one with the intricate black dress she wears.
1960s costume designer Jocelyn Richards had designed the piece. It falls along Veruschka's body, ending at a dip of fabric between the legs. Scandalous yet refined.
Jane Birkin also has a role in the film, so how could you possibly miss it? In this movie she plays a young woman who, with her friend, hassles Thomas so they can get photographed. Let me tell you, the colour blocked mod dresses they wear are simply adorable. I love the bold geometric prints and matching tights. So much fun. Why dress boring when you can wear art?
8. Dazed and Confused.
We've had a look at high school in the 1980s and 1990s, so why not experience it through the 1970s too?
It is true that Dazed and Confused, Linklater's coming of age classic, was released in 1993, but the 1970s throwback looked super believable. Attention to detail was not left on the back-burner. The end result of this effort was a solid high school flick. So quotable, so cool, and a great watch for those chilled out evenings in bed. (Oh yeah, and a young Matthew McConaughey is in it too.)
The film's costume design department had a lot to do with its success. Katherine "Kathy" Dover was all about authenticity. Most of the pieces shown were true vintage, barring the odd Betsey Johnson peasant blouse - but who could resist that item?
The film does barrage you with a lot of denim. Flared denim jeans if you want to be more specific. But taking the era of the film into consideration, I can't complain. Jeans are mixed in with a host of cute blouses, sports jerseys, and classic T-shirts. A great choice for those days when you want to feel comfy, but also look put together enough that people won't think you've just rolled out of bed.
But, oh my god, let's just take a moment to appreciate Mila Jovovich's style in this film. Playing a mellow stoner chick, her looks are some of my favourite. In her fringed waistcoats she aces the hippie aesthetic without looking like she is trying too hard. Next year's Coachella crowd, please take note.
p.s. To see more cinematic style from Mila, check out The Fifth Element for
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